Devastating and deliciously dark, The Cliff House is less wish-fulfilment and more of a clever and disturbing reminder that things are rarely (if ever) how they appear on the surface.
Some friendships are made to be broken
Cornwall, summer of 1986.
The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.
If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home. If only her life was as perfect as theirs. If only Edie Davenport would be her friend. If only she lived at The Cliff House…
What starts as a heady summer of escape and friendship on the North Cornwall coast soon takes a decidedly darker turn, one as black as the swimming pool around which much of the action takes place, in this novel of contrasts.
Tamsyn and Edie’s families illustrate the conflicting interests: locals looking for work and affordable housing in a place that daily reminds them of what they’ve lost; and holiday home owners longing for escape in an enviable property out of reach to most people, especially locals, while bringing seasonal work and spending power.
The Cliff House is the story of a place as much as the two families it brings together and Amanda Jennings makes its presence felt by breathing life into the house and the stretch of coast it sits on.
She also cleverly shows the light and dark of each character and place, and how changeable these are. As I learned more about each character, my perception of them changed and sympathies continually realigned while reading, which kept me on edge throughout.
As moody and intense as its teen protagonists and Cornish coastline, The Cliff House is a clever and twisted tale of the devastation caused when obsession, envy and grief run wild one summer, and which Amanda Jennings brings to a chilling yet fitting conclusion. Highly recommended.
The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings is published by HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins. It is available in as an audiobook and an ebook and in hardback. You can find it at Amazon UK, Audible UK, Foyles, Hive (supporting your local independent bookshop), Waterstones and Wordery. To find out more about Amanda Jennings and her books, check out her Author Website or find her on Facebook, on Instagram or on Twitter.